A CONTROVERSIAL supertrawler has arrived in Weymouth Bay.

The Margiris is the second biggest fishing trawler in the world and weighs 6,200 tonnes. It was banned from fishing in Australia  in 2013.

The vessel was boarded by government officials earlier this month after it started trawling in the Channel off the Sussex coast but was found to be operating legally under European laws.

The Lithuanian-registered ship is owned by Dutch company Parlevliet & Van Der Plas and can process 250 tonnes of fish per day.

The ship was formerly known as Abel Tasman and had its application to fish in Australian waters rejected, following protests by the charity Greenpeace.

Each EU country is given a quota of fish it can catch in European waters.

Each country then divides that quota between vessels, allocating set catch sizes along with documentation in the event of an inspection.

The Margiris is believed to be fishing mackerel which will be sold to Africa, however, there are concerns it could be endangering other species.

It is believed to be on its way to Portland Port.

A spokesman for the Blue Planet Society said: ‘The capacity of these trawlers is equivalent to dozens of small-scale fishing vessels, and sustainable small-scale fisheries cannot compete with industrial supertrawlers.

‘We think the supertrawlers Margiris and Annie Hillina are targeting mackerel off Sussex. This will undoubtedly put them in contact with short-beaked common dolphins, endangered bluefin tuna and overfished sea bass.’

Councillor Paul Kimber of Portland Town Council said: “If the trawler has been banned in Australia then that’s good enough for me.

“It shouldn’t be around here taking our livelihoods away.

“We have around 200 fishermen in the area struggling to make ends meet.”